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LEARN TO WELD - PART 3

LEARN TO WELD - PART 3

by Alisdair Cusick, 13th May 2016

How to

Alisdair Cusick moves our welding skills on by showing how the experts replace a load bay floor section.

his month in the Welding mini series we move on a pace. So far, we’ve practiced welding test pieces on the bench, and we’ve looked at welding a small repair to a flat wheel arch. This month we scale things up by replacing a whole panel. Whilst smaller repair sections are an important skill to master, panel or component replacement is the major stepping stone to performing senior repairs on a vehicle body. While fitting repair sections, the vehicle remains square and supported on the chassis and – in the main – the structure stays almost complete. With panels, we’re often removing a whole body component, meaning that suddenly, we have to consider lining up the replacement true and square.

Measurements may be vital, depending on the panel, and if we get it wrong, like on a crossmember for example, the rear door or tailgate may not shut, never mind having unsightly panel gaps either side. Panels are a little different in respect of skills, too. Welding is, of course, the important bit, but the headline story on this month’s job is that of accurately cutting out, preparing, and lining up the fit of the new panel. Expect to spend probably 85 per cent of the time on those jobs, and only a minority with the MIG mask on. Welding-wise, we’ll be using our tack weld skill, and giving it a twist, by making puddle welds; basically a larger tack in a hole, fixing two panels together.



This month’s challenge then, is mainly in learning about cutting out, whilst bearing in mind we need to leave enough to weld the new panel to. We show a Range Rover here, though the job is similar on Discovery 1. On either vehicle the basic structure is broadly similar, as are the skills you need and the steps involved. Kingsley Cars’ welder, Steve Fuller, shows us the way to tackle the job.

TOOLS:
MIG welder, welding gauntlets, cap, correct mask, overalls. Metalwork tools for cutting and shaping, cleaning joints and preparing bodywork for welding, new panel, weld-through primer, zinc-rich primer

TIME: 4-5 HOURS / COST £200 PLUS

CONTACT:
With thanks to Kingsley Cars, based just off the A40 in Oxfordshire for their help with this series. Check out  http://www.kingsleycars.co.uk/range-rover-welding-repairs.htm or call 01865 884488

1
STEP 1
STEP 1

This left hand boot floor side panel is the one we’re replacing. Typically, they rot along the edges, or boot floor joint.

2
STEP 2
STEP 2

Steve cuts out the boot floor for access – it’s being replaced anyway. Remove or unplug any wiring that might be in harm’s way, moving it aside.

3
STEP 3
STEP 3

If replacing only the side panel, we need to preserve the edge the floor fixes to. Removing the floor means we have new joints on new panels.

4
STEP 4
STEP 4

With a fire blanket on the fuel tank, Steve cuts loosely an inch inboard from the edge of the panel to remove the bulk and aid access.

5
STEP 5
STEP 5

You’ll get into odd angles with the cutter as you work into the corners, but do the best you can. Take great care to use it safely.

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